The first-ever study of national minerals industry spending on community projects and local businesses further underscores why the Minerals Resource Rent Tax (MRRT) is unnecessary and should be repealed.

A survey of 25 Australian mining companies, explorers and resources contractors by Corporate Social Responsibility consultants Banarra found that $34.7 billion was spent on community infrastructure, Indigenous contractors, local suppliers and other activities in 2011-12.

This is many times larger than the projected returns from the MRRT. It also exceeds the industry’s 2011-12 company tax and royalty payments, which Deloitte Access Economics have estimated at $21 billion.

Community infrastructure spending includes health care centres, education and training, sporting clubs, swimming pools and transport services.

The scale of industry’s community contribution demonstrates that the best way of to maximize a social return from Australia's resource endowment is to ensure the mining sector remains globally competitive and continues to expand.

A third layer of taxation on the minerals sector in the form of the MRRT takes Australia in the opposite direction. It undermines our competitiveness and acts as a disincentive to invest in Australian coal and iron ore projects.

The size of the community contribution also conclusively demolishes the suggestion that prior to the introduction of the MRRT, Australians were not getting a “fair share” of the mining boom.

The industry's tax and royalty payments coupled with the community spend shows that mining will continue to make a very large social and economic contribution after the MRRT is abolished.

The industry’s community contribution is another demonstration of the mining sector’s commitment to sustainable development in the conversion of natural endowment to social capital as well as economic dividends.

This is the first time a total industry figure has been compiled. The total national figure will be higher when the contribution from all mining and mining-related companies is considered.

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